Cathars thought human spirits were the genderless spirits of angels trapped in the material realm of the evil god, destined to be reincarnated until they achieved salvation through the consolamentum, when they could return to the benign God.
From the beginning of his reign, Pope Innocent III attempted to end Catharism by sending missionaries and by persuading the local authorities to act against them.
Catharism appeared in Europe in the Languedoc region of France in the 11th century and this is when the name first appears.
The adherents were sometimes known as Albigensians, after the city Albi in southern France where the movement first took hold.
Cathar cosmology identified two twin, opposing deities.
The first was a good God, portrayed in the New Testament and creator of the spirit, while the second was an evil God, depicted in the Old Testament and creator of matter and the physical world.
was a Christian dualist or Gnostic revival movement that thrived in some areas of Southern Europe, particularly what is now northern Italy and southern France, between the 12th and 14th centuries.
The followers were known as Cathars and are now mainly remembered for a prolonged period of persecution by the Catholic Church, which did not recognise their belief as being Christian.All visible matter, including the human body, was created by this Rex Mundi; matter was therefore tainted with sin.Under this view, humans were actually angels seduced by Satan before a war in heaven against the army of Michael, after which they would have been forced to spend an eternity trapped in the evil God's material realm.The idea of two gods or principles, one good and the other evil, was central to Cathar beliefs.This was antithetical to the monotheistic Catholic Church, whose fundamental principle was that there was only one God, who created all things visible and invisible.Zoé Oldenbourg compared the Cathars to "Western Buddhists" because she considered that their view of the doctrine of "resurrection" taught by Christ was, in fact, similar to the Buddhist doctrine of rebirth.